Rhaje was the ancient capital of the midanian-empire.

Historically known as Rhages (/ˈreɪdʒiːz/), Rhagae and Arsacia, Ray is the oldest existing city in Tehran Province. In the classical era, it was a prominent city belonging to Media, the political and cultural base of the Medes.[1] Ancient Persian inscriptions and the Avesta (Zoroastrian scriptures), among other sources, attest to the importance of ancient Ray.[2] Ray is mentioned several times in the Apocrypha.[3] It is also shown on the 4th-century Peutinger Map. The city was subject to severe destruction during the medieval invasions by the Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. Its position as a capital city was revived during the reigns of the Buyid Daylamites and the Seljuk Turks.[4] Ray is richer than many other ancient cities in the number of its historical monuments. The Neolithic site of Cheshme-Ali, the reconstructed Median-era Rey Castle, the Parthian-era Rashkan Castle, the Sasanian-era Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Bahram, and the once Zoroastrian and now Islamic Shrine of Bibi Shahrbanu are among the many archaeological sites in Ray.

Ray has been home to many historical figures, including royalty, merchants, scholars and poets. Medieval Persian scholar Rhazes, one of the most important figures in medical science, was from Ray. One of the etymologies proposed for the name of the Radhanites—a group of merchants, some of Jewish origin, who kept open the Eurasian trade routes in the early Middle Ages—links them to Ray.

The Achaemenid Behistun Inscription mentions Ray (Old Persian: 𐎼𐎥𐎠, Ragā; Akkadian: 𒊏𒂵𒀪, ra-ga-; Elamite: 𒊩𒋡𒀭, rák-ka4-an) as a part of Media, which was the political and cultural base of the ancient Medes, one of the ancient Iranian peoples.

Ray was one of the main strongholds of the Seleucid Empire.[7] During the Seleucid period, Alexander the Great's general Seleucus I Nicator renamed the city as Europos (Ευρωπός), honoring his home city in Macedonia.[8] Ray was used as one of the shifting capitals of the Parthian Empire, according to Athenaeus.[9] According to Isidore of Charax, under the Parthian and Seleucid eras, Ray was surrounded by the province of Rhagiana together with four other cities.[10]
The Bahram Fire Temple (Teppe Mill) is a Zoroastrian fire temple from the time of the Sasanian Empire in Ray, Iran.

Under the Sasanian Empire, Ray (Middle Persian: 𐭫𐭣𐭩‎) was located near the center of the empire. It was the base of the powerful House of Mehran and the House of Spandiyad, two of the Seven Great Houses of Iran during the Sasanian period.[11][12]

Alexander the Great passed through Ray (then called Rhagae) in pursuit of Darayavahush (Darius) III, last of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia, resting his exhausted troops there for five days when he heard that his quarry had already reached the Caspian Gates pass[1] (the much later historical epic, Shah-nameh, suggests that the garrison at Ray elected to join Alexander, and aided his conquest of Persia).[2] After the great conqueror's untimely death, Seleucus, a successful officer in his army, initially settled in Babylon as his share of the empire, embarked on a nine-year campaign of conquest in 311 BCE, ultimately acquiring most of Persia. He followed Alexander's policy of establishing Greek cities at key strategic points, and among these was Europos, a replacement for the old Rhagae (much needed because there was an earthquake around 300 BCE).[3]

Around 250 BCE, during the reign of the third Seleucid emperor, Arsak (Arsaces) killed the viceroy of Parthia and temporarily set up headquarters at Ray (Rhages), founding the Arsacid dynasty.[4] He was unable to hold the city, but his family remained in control of the territory further east. A later Arsacid ruler of Parthia, Phraates I subdued the Mardi people of the Elburz Mountains, nominally subjects of the Seleucids, shortly after his accession in 181 BCE. According to Strabo's Geography, he settled them at Charax, a fort between Ray (Rhagae) and the Caspian Gates pass, the main communication route with the east.[5] Phraates' successor Mithridates I then expanded Parthia, his conquests including Ray. The town seems to have suffered, and he had it "refounded" around 148 BCE with the name Arsacia.[6]
Iraj Castle, a massive Sasanian base near Ray

Little is known about events around Ray over the next several hundred years (except that in 459 CE Peroz, son of Sassanid emperor Yazdegerd II, with allies from the Khorasan area, fought at Ray against his brother- who had succeeded their father as emperor Hormizd III- and thus became emperor Peroz I.[7] Over a century later, the usurper Bahram Chobin was based in the city, though the military action in his brief period as ruler (590–591 CE) seems to have taken place elsewhere- the same may be said for his effective successor Vistahm, who minted coins in the city.[8] Thus it would be wrong to assume that the following catalogue of events represents an abrupt change in the military history of Ray; the Islamic sources are simply very rich (which is also why Hijri dates are given alongside the CE dates from here on).

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License